Softball Closes Out Regular Season with 8-5 Win Over #3 Alabama
May 7, 2012
Bronx, N.Y. - It seemed nearly impossible for Fordham to top the marathon, 17-inning epic game on Friday between two All-American pitchers, but on Monday, the Rams won one of the biggest games in program history when they defeated #3/4 Alabama, 8-5, in a game played at Bahoshy Field in the Bronx.
The Crimson Tide was the highest ranked team ever to visit Bahoshy Field and the highest ranked team the Rams ever beat. The previous high was a 2-1, eight-inning victory over #8/11 Georgia Tech in 2010 and the last triumph over a ranked opponent came on March 12, 2011, with a 4-3, eight-inning win over #25/RV Syracuse.
The game featured a back and forth battle with many heroes on both sides, but non shined brighter than Taylor Pirone, as the freshman came in to pitch unexpectedly after an injury to Jen Mineauand earned her fourth win of the season in two and two-thirds innings of relief work, allowing two hits and striking out three.
Similarly to when these schools met in 2011, Alabama jumped out to a lead in the very first inning as Kayla Braud led off with a walk, stole second, advanced to third on a ground out and came in to score on an RBI single by Kaila Hunt to give the Crimson Tide a 1-0 lead.
Alabama extended its lead with three runs in the third inning. Braud opened things by reaching on a fielding error and, two batters later, she came in to score on an Amanda Locke RBI double. Hunt followed with a two-run home run to dead center, giving Alabama a 4-0 lead.
But the Fordham bats came alive as the Rams evened the score in the bottom of the third. Katherine VanBenschoten and Brianna Turgeon started the rally with consecutive walks to open the frame and Jamie LaBovick loaded the bases with a single to third. One out later, Nicole Callahan drove in VanBenschoten with an RBI fielder's choice, as Turgeon was forced on a close play at third. Gabby Luety, who hit the game-tying home run against UMass on Friday night, followed as she blasted a homer to center as Fordham evened the score at four. It was Luety's ninth home run of the year.
Alabama took a 5-4 lead with an unearned run in the fourth and the raucous, overflowing crowd was silenced an inning later when Fordham starter Jen Mineauwas hit in the hand with a line drive off the bat of Keima Davis and had to leave the game with an injury.
Taylor Pirone was unexpectedly thrown into a bases loaded, one-out situation and got out of the jam by retiring Braud on a line out to short and then striking out Jennifer Fenton.
Fordham used the spark Pirone gave them in the circle, as the Rams took the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Turgeon earned her second walk of the game and then Jamie LaBovickblasted her fifth home run of the season, a two-run shot, over the wall in left to give the Rams a 6-5 lead.
In the sixth, Fordham showed why they are the number one defensive team in the A-10 as Elise Fortiermade a terrific diving stab to her left on a low liner and doubled a runner off of first. She then went over near the Fordham dugout and made an outstretched catch against the fence for the third out of the inning.
The Rams added a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of sixth as Fortier opened the inning with a single to left center. Two batters later, Turgeon lifted her ninth home run of the season into the netting on top of the "Bronx Behemoth" in left to give Fordham an 8-5 lead.
Pirone struck out the first two batters of the seventh before allowing two base runners, on an error and a single, but she got the final batter to fly out to left.
Pirone improved to 4-5 with the win, while Amanda Locke dropped to 11-4 with the loss. LaBovick and Callahan each had a pair of hits to lead the Rams while Luety drove in three runs and LaBovick and Turgeon each brought in two.
Fordham finished its regular season with a 31-24 record. The Rams will be the #2 seed in the upcoming Atlantic 10 tournament in St. Louis from May 9-12. The Rams open play at the conference tournament at 4:30 PM on Thursday, May 10, against the winner of the Temple-Saint Joseph's game on Wednesday.